The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports


Official: Turkey may not host F1 in 2012

Posted: 22 Apr 2011 04:50 AM PDT

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey may not host a Grand Prix next season due to an increase in the fee to stage the race, according to the head of Istanbul's Chamber of Commerce.

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has doubled the asking fee from US$13 million to US$26 million, Murat Yalcintas said on his Twitter account late Thursday.

Turkey's Ministry of Finance considers the amount too high, added Yalcintas, who represents the backers of the race.

"It looks like F1 will not take place in Istanbul next year," Yalcintas said.

On Friday, however, Milliyet newspaper quoted Yalcintas as saying organizers would discuss the issue with Ecclestone during next month's Istanbul Grand Prix.

"If Ecclestone displays a rigid attitude then there will be no agreement," Yalcintas said. "In the end, it is the public's money."

"Nothing is certain yet. Besides, if there is no agreement for next year, this does not mean that there will no longer be a F1 in Istanbul. There could be agreements in the future."

There was no immediate comment from the sport's governing body, the FIA.

Turkey joined the F1 calendar in 2005 but the race has suffered poor attendances due to high ticket prices and difficulty of access to the venue on Istanbul's Asian side. The contract is due to expire this year.

In 2006, the FIA ordered Turkey to pay a US$5 million fine for compromising the race's political neutrality, after Mehmet Ali Talat - the leader of the breakaway northern Turkish Cypriot state, which only Turkey recognizes - was allowed to present the winner's prize at the Grand Prix that year.

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Sukree ends four-year barren run by bagging Harvard Classic

Posted: 21 Apr 2011 06:48 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Mohd Sukree Othman ended a four-year wait for a professional title when he nailed the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Harvard Classic title yesterday.

Sukree, who enjoyed a successful amateur career before joining the paid ranks in 2007, shot a final round of four-under 68 at the Harvard Golf and Country Club in Sungai Petani for a four-day total of 277 to claim the winner's cheque of RM18,000.

Overnight leader R. Nachimuthu's four-stroke advantage came undone after firing two-over 74 to finish in second place with Zurie Harun on 279.

The 35-year-old Sukree was lost for words after his biggest career win but was delighted to put behind the disappointment of squandering his lead at the final hole during the PGM Kinrara Classic last month.

"It's been a long time ... it's the happiest day of my life," said Sukree, who went to the top of the Tour's Order of Merit after five tournaments with a total of RM38,356.

"I have won many times in the amateur ranks, including the Hong Kong Amateur Open but this victory is a true blessing.

"I had a one-shot lead coming into the final hole and I was telling myself not to repeat the meltdown in Kinrara."

A dejected Nachimuthu rued fatigue as the reason for his collapse.

"It was my sixth straight day of golf. I drove here after the conclusion of the second round of the Malaysian Open on Saturday and played a practice round on Sunday," said the 40-year-old.

"As a professional, you can't complain about that but sometimes it does take a toll on the body."

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